OUR TEAM

We are a group of volunteers working to help disadvantaged communities see clearly, thereby improving their lives.

WHO WE ARE

Founded in the United States, the Global Eye Project has grown to include volunteers and donors from all over the world. Together we are empowering local communities by building locally managed sustainable eye clinics through education initiatives and volunteer run professional training services to reduce the need for outside support. With your support, we will make eye care a right, not a privilege.

Anshu Chandra

Anshu currently is a full-time, unpaid volunteer in Haiti for the last four years building and advancing eye care for the poor. She is working to end disparities in eye care globally by bringing this service to the poor in remote areas and giving them health equity. She's leading our efforts in Haiti and has built the permanent eye clinic in Fond-des-Blancs and is providing care there and training the locals. She’s also collaborating with other institutions in Haiti providing care via mobile clinics to address the immediate need as well as working on more permanent solutions by helping to further develop the Haitian ophthalmology residency program in Port-au-Prince with advanced training and access to equipment and supplies so ALL Haitians can have high quality eye care.

She has a Doctor of Optometry and optometric residency degree from SUNY College of Optometry in New York. She was raised in India and the USA where her mother worked as a social worker with under-served communities and created programs to strengthen various skills to make members more independent. These influences have given Anshu an understanding of the needs of disadvantaged populations as well as practical, simple solutions to address those needs. Anshu has also provided eye care to communities in Nepal, Haiti, Peru, Lebanon, Tanzania, Honduras, Guatemala, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Indonesia, and India.

Martin S. Arkin

Martin was born in Detroit. He attended the University of Michigan, where he earned a Bachelors of Science degree in Cellular and Molecular Biology with high honors and highest distinction. His college performance and research accomplishments earned him a scholarship for training as a physician-scientist for combined M.D. and PhD. (neuroscience) degrees at Washington University.

After completing an internship in internal medicine, Martin began an ophthalmology residency at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, at Harvard University. Cornea subspeciality training followed at Tufts University. His initial attraction to ophthalmology was due to the ability of procedures such as cataract extraction and laser techniques to dramatically restore sight previously lost. Cataracts and corneal problems are major causes of reversible blindness worldwide, and his training has not only proven valuable here, but also on mission trips to India, Central America, South America and the Carribean. He feels that there is no greater satisfaction than watching someone’s face after surgery when they can see again for the first time in years. You can read articles about Marty’s experiences in Haiti in 2008, 2010, and 2011.

Martin lives in Traverse City, Michigan. There has been a great need for his services, and he is pleased to be able to treat complex eye problems locally and internationally. When he is not working, he enjoys many of the outdoor activities such as kayaking, cycling, snowmobiling, canoeing and skiing.

Patrick Beukema

Patrick Beukema has been a volunteer with Global Eye Project since it was founded. On the ground, he translated Haitian Creole and provided assistance with outreach. Currently he works as a research scientist in applied neuroscience and machine learning in Washington D.C. Previously, he earned a Ph.D in neuroscience from the Center for Neuroscience at the University of Pittsburgh and the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition at Carnegie Mellon University. Patrick has been combining his research, science, technological experience to advance GEP's goal of providing the best quality of care effectively and efficiently.

Sam Navon

Sam is currently the chief of cornea and refractive surgery at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi. He has participated in surgical eye missions to several countries and is very active in training ophthalmology residents and fellows.

After medical school, Dr. Navon received a PhD in biophysics from UCLA and did his ophthalmology training at Harvard Medical School, where he served as a resident, chief resident and fellow. He holds an associated professorship of ophthalmology at Case Western Reserve University.

Susan Koenig

Susan Koenig lives in Beulah, Michigan. She has an MA in French and teaches ESL. She has two grown children and two cats. Susan’s connection to Haiti dates back to her friendship with the Haitian community in the Bahamas, where she lived for a number of years. After the earthquake, Susan was moved to assist in Haiti’s recovery. When she learned that her Michigan eye doctor was involved in a clinic there, she joined him as a translator.

Susan learned that speaking French wouldn’t be enough in rural Haiti, so now she is learning Creole in order to improve communication with local people. She has made three trips to Fond des Blancs, and is “hooked” by the indomitable spirit of the long-suffering population of patient and loving folks in that fascinating, but impoverished part of the world. Susan is convinced that Haitians desperately need eye care, and she has committed to helping to establish a permanent clinic in Fond des Blancs.

Rita Russo

Rita is a Massachusetts native. She received her Diploma in Nursing at St. Vincent Hospital School of Nursing in Worcester, MA, her B.S. in Psychology and Nursing at Worcester State College and her Master of Science in Nursing at Boston University. She worked for St. Boniface Haiti Foundation for 10 years doing administrative work. In 2008 she brought the first ever eye team to St. Boniface Hospital in Fond des Blancs. This hospital is the only source of healthcare for a population of 250,000 rural poor. Prompted by the tremendous need for eye care, she continues to bring eye teams to Haiti in her retirement.

When not in Haiti, she spends her time visiting her grandchildren. An avid gardener, she also enjoys knitting and other crafts.